Monday, May 26, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Labor Day

I really wanted to see this movie when it came out last year. It stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Do you remember seeing the previews? I never knew what it was about but it got great reviews. I still haven't seen the movie but when I found out it was based on the book by Joyce Maynard, I decided to start there.


Good Reads' Synopsis: "With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry—lonely, friendless, not too good at sports—spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele—a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.

But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others—especially those we love—above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for.

In a manner evoking Ian McEwan's Atonement and Nick Hornby's About a Boy, acclaimed author Joyce Maynard weaves a beautiful, poignant tale of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery as seen through the eyes of a young teenage boy—and the man he later becomes—looking back at an unexpected encounter that begins one single long, hot, life-altering weekend."

What I Thought: Two great reads in a row! This hasn't happened for a long time. This is a powerful little story. It's a fast read you will not regret. The character of Henry was sweet yet heartbreaking. All of the characters were really very well developed. Now that I know the book is good, I'll try not to be disappointed by the movie.

Rating: * * * 1/2

Monday, May 19, 2014


Can I tell you about a YouTube workout program I’ve been following for the last month or so? It’s called BodyRockTV and it is AWESOME! That link is directly to their website but just search BodyRock on YouTube and you'll find it.
I just finished the 30 Day Real Time Challenge because I was looking for something to beef up my strength routines. This fit the bill! You do need a few pieces of equipment so if you don’t have dumbbells or a bar with plate weights, you might really need to improvise.  I didn’t have what they call equalizers (to be used for tricep dips, ab work and pull ups) and I did okay finding substitute exercises.
The concept is HIIT, high intensity interval training, which is supposed to be one of the most effective ways to burn maximum  calories because you’re combining cardio (jump rope, high knees, jumping jacks, etc.) and strength moves with very little rest in between circuits. Some of the days are rather long at over an hour but others are just 45 minutes. Guaranteed for a good sweat any way you slice it!
Do not be put off by the female trainers wearing very little clothing. You get over that and just become jealous of their muscles. Although I’m not sure I could ever exercise in a sports bra and underwear, not even alone in my basement.
After 30 days, I have seen noticeable changes in muscle tone which is just what I wanted. Now I’m moving onto the 21 Day Bootcamp that is available. Because it’s on YouTube, everything is free ninety nine. They are also posted on their website at  HERE.
If you’re looking to mix it up with some HIIT, give this one a try!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Furry Skurry

This past weekend, John and I laced up for our first race in a long time. A really long time. As in, more than a year. It rained the whole time but this 5K still felt awesome! The race was called the Furry Skurry because it benefits the Humane Society of Dayton.

The course was in a business park so not much excitement to see but it was flat as a pancake which helped both John and me PR. That's a personal record for you non-runner readers out there. It was my fastest raced 5K at 28:19. I held a 9:06 average pace which wasn't tough and then made me feel like I should have given more effort after I finished. I came in 7th in my age group. If that sounds impressive just know that there were only about 200 runners.

John, however, really killed it! He ran a 23:54 and came in 3rd in his age group and 12th overall. SUPER proud of him.

Because the race benefited the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, you were able to run with your dog, if you wanted. We opted out of bringing Sadie knowing just exactly how crazy she would have been with all those other dogs around. Plus, she can only sprint for about a half mile before she's done and we wanted to have good races.

Now, the rain. I do not run in the rain. If it's raining, it's treadmill time. Unfortunately, when you register for a race well in advance, you never know what the weather will have in store when the gun goes off. It was only in the low 60's and there were varying degrees of heaviness with the rain throughout the morning. Luckily, I threw in my visor at the last minute. Thank God! It helped keep the water out of my eyes. We were all soaked to the bone by the time we were done. And all dogs were soaked too. There was a permanent wet dog aroma in the air.

Despite the rain, we had a great time and supported a very worthy cause. Can't wait to sign up for another one!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May musings

Without even realizing it, I surpassed 1,000 posts. Isn't that something?

The other day as I was washing my hands at work, I looked up in the mirror to see a small inchworm crawling on my head. I don’t have a problem with bugs but this freaked me out. How long had he been there? Were any eggs laid? Do inch worms lay eggs? I quickly grabbed him from my person and squashed him. Then I felt like things were crawling on me for the rest of the day and I wanted to douse myself with scalding water. I’m going to choose to believe he landed on me outside and not that he came from within me.
Our neighbors finally mowed their lawn after at least 7 months. Granted, some of those were winter months but they failed to mow in the fall either. Friends of ours asked if anyone was even living there. They didn’t mow their back yard, however, which has now reached jungle-like proportions. They have a small dog who I’m certain gets lost in grass that is taller than its own body. If I complain to the HOA about lawn neglect, will they know it was me? Do I care?
Time to switch closets and drawers from winter to summer clothing, right? I already got rid of 4 summer tops that I should have donated long ago. Need to make room for all those crop tops I will not be buying. Really, crop tops? Does this have to be a thing? Sometimes it takes me a month or so to embrace fashion trends but I cannot, in good conscience, condone this type of behavior.
Like many other wives/girlfriends of football fans in this country, I could not be more pleased that the freaking NFL draft is finished. I have heard nothing but nonstop speculation for many weeks now as John is a listener/watcher of all coverage. Guess what? No one had anything new to say after about 4 days so for the rest of the time, they were just repeating themselves.

Two weeks until vacation time!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Invention of Wings

For my latest read I turned once again to the NY Times Best Seller list. I like to be current, you know. No one ever really asks me about the books I’ve read but if they did, these would be the ones they bring up. Although there are often things on that list that don’t belong there. I won’t name names. You know who you are. I have read and liked other things from Sue Monk Kidd (Secret Life of Bees most notably) so I thought I’d check this one out. I didn’t even have to wait on the hold list very long. How do you like that?
Good Reads’ Synopsis: "Hetty "Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved."

What I Thought: I really enjoyed this even though the historical fiction snuck up on me. That’s okay. Historical fiction has its time and place. I really liked what Kidd did with the juxtaposition of Sarah and Handful. What intriguing characters! It also made me want to visit the south in the 1800’s. Not for the slavery part. That was no good. Just for the southern charm and old world Charleston. The imagery in this was beautiful as well, even when the scenes were not so beautiful, I still wanted to soak in every detail. Check this one out for yourself!

Rating: * * * ½

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Beer Me: Toxic Brewing Co.

The same day we hit up Warped Wing Brewing Co., we also headed over to the Oregon District to check out Toxic Brewing Co. The space, I believe, was converted from a normal bar and it looked like it. Plenty of seating though, indoors and a small outside patio as well. We sat at the bar to peruse the menu.

Eight varieties on tap that day and the friendly barkeep let us know that we could taste all for $14 (or maybe $16). Because I didn’t take good notes, I don’t really remember key points from many of them. I do know there were too many IPA’s on the board for my liking here as well. John enjoyed them though.
They had: Blonde Apple (Belgian blonde), Imperial Orange Cream (imperial cream), Practice Yoga (Session IPA), Gem City Ruby (Amber), Abby Brunette (Belgian Dubbel), Iso-Heaven (IPA), Abby’s Cure (Belgian Tripel), 5th St. Wheat (wheat
I really enjoyed the Blonde Apple, Abby Brunette and 5th Street Wheat. I was a little disappointed not to find anything darker on the menu but that’s okay. Apparently, they are always experimenting and switching things out. More reason to go back!
After the flight, I ordered a pint of the Abby Brunette (this was my fave). I forget what John ordered but he was able to get it in a half pint, which I thought was super cool. They also have growlers to go.

Why You Should Go: Lots of types to try and of course, it’s local. It was a little noisy in there even though there weren’t many people that day but that was due to just one woman who had possibly been over served (or started before she arrived). She was cheering for herself a lot during a rousing game of shuffleboard (is it called shuffleboard when it’s up on a table?) Convenient to so many good restaurants too! Oh, and free popcorn, which I am a total sucker for. Give me popcorn and you’ve got a friend for life!

Monday, May 5, 2014

April Running Round Up

Well. This felt awesome! After a couple terrible months of not really running due to my dumb surgery I am back in the saddle. I didn't hit 50 miles but I came close enough.

4/2: 4 mi, 34:44, 9:11/8:38/8:31/8:24
4/3: 3.3 mi, 29:47 9:08/8:40/8:54
4/6: 5 mi, 44:31 9:18/8:58/8:49/8:50/8:36
4/9: 3.5 mi, 31:05? 9:12/8:49/8:44/4:
4/10: 4 mi, OT, 38:56, 9:24/9:20/9:20/10:45, oops
4/13: 4 mi OT, 37:29, 9:22 avg pace
4/15: 3.5 mi, 31:59
4/17: 4 mi OUT, 37:47, 9:28 avg pace
4/20: 4 mi, 34:45, 9:10/8:38/8:34/8:23
4/22: 4 mi, 35:49, 8:58 avg
4/27: 4.1 mi, OUT 40:09, not feeling great
4/29: 3.1 mi, OUT 28:38, 9:24/9:07/9:17

43.5 miles run!

Some of those were even run on actual pavement out of doors. I think May is going to be a great month for running with warmer temps, a race, and a trip to Florida at the end. Here we go!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beer Me: Warped Wing Brewing Co.

One gorgeous Saturday a few weeks back, John and I had the pleasure of visiting a newer local Dayton brewery, Warped Wing Brewing Co. It’s downtown in a converted warehouse which actually reminded us of a mini-Rhinegheist. Free parking across the street was taken advantage of. There weren’t many people there that afternoon. We stopped in after a matinee performance of the musical Memphis.
The space is large and open with one long bar and many tables as well as a few arcade games. A large garage door was opened due to the nice weather. The view out isn’t spectacular but it was awesome to have the fresh breeze blowing through.
We shared a tasting flight because it’s the best way to sample multiple offerings on a budget. Because there was a fifth interesting brew we wanted to try, a pint of that was ordered as well.

Ermal’s Belgian Cream Ale, Flyin’ Rye IPA, Incorruptible IPA, 10 Ton Oatmeal Stout
Of course, the IPA’s did not tickle my fancy. Although, the Incorruptible was Belgian style so slightly less bitter. The Cream Ale was smooth drinking and their lightest option. The 10 Ton Oatmeal Stout was a winner and I knew it would be. Dark and smooth, just like I like it.

The pint is Pirogue Black Tripel. It’s their oatmeal stout brewed with cold pressed coffee. Holy mackerel! This was delicious. I could have had that all night (though we moved on after these samplings). The combination of stout and coffee was amazing. John dubbed it better than the life-changing coffee stout we found in St. John’s last year. Can you believe that?! Even though I gave up coffee (4 months strong!) this doesn’t count because it was brewed with beer.
They have growlers to go if that’s your thing. The prices were comparable to other local craft spots. $6 for the pint and I think $8 for the flight but I’m not positive about that and forgot to take notes. Bad blogger.

Why You Should Go: I feel like they had something for everyone even though there were only a few varieties on tap. If you’re a coffee stout fan, you need to be here just for that. If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere (at least it was this afternoon), you’ve found that here too. Friendly and attentive staff. I didn’t see food but I’m betting someone would deliver there. Give it a visit!